THE EVER-CHANGING DYNAMIC OF CONFLICTS IN GEORGIA:
THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL FACTORS

Fareed SHAFEE


Fareed Shafee, Holds masters degrees from the Kennedy School of Government of the Harvard University; independent expert (Baku, Azerbaijan)


ABSTRACT

In this article, I will trace the dynamics and changes in internal conflicts in Georgia (Georgian-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhazian conflicts), and investigate the role of external factors and their interplay with internal factors affecting the dynamic of the conflicts. Mainstream academic literature views the two conflicts as internal. However, after the war in August 2008 that saw visible intervention from Russia, the conflicts, I argue, have turned into intra-state conflict between Georgia and Russia. My further argument is about the decisive role of external factors in the conflicts. The Western and Georgian media tend to emphasize the role of Russia in the conflicts; academic literature is divided over the issue of the influence of external factors. I acknowledge that sometimes Russias role is exaggerated and that less attention is paid, particularly in Georgia, to Tbilisis wrongdoings. However, overall, the presence and influence of external factors, on at least two occasions, modified the dynamic of the conflicts. Here, along with Russia, other outside players, such as the United States, contributed to the conflicts.

Keywords: Georgian-Ossetian conflict, Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, ethnonationalism, Javakhetia, Abkhazians, Ossetians, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Roots of the Conflicts

The roots of the Georgian-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhazian conflicts are complex. Scholars point to a set of factors which ignited the two conflictsthe conflicts which resemble others in the post-Soviet space: the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, and Transnistrian in Moldova. One of the main culprits is ethnonationalism, which was on the rise after the..


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